Changing roles

Topss England is half way through a three-year project testing
out new roles and ways of working. Progressing through your career
you will come across three types of new roles:

  • “Hybrid roles” bring together roles with which we are already
    familiar. These not only crossover between health and social care,
    but also involve housing and education.
  • “Ordinary life roles” bring principles important to social care
    practice into a variety of settings. As well as blurring existing
    professional boundaries some of these roles merge formal and
    informal care. Examples can be seen in the roles of community
    enablers and neighbourhood carers.
  • “Genuinely new” roles that come out of challenges to existing
    arrangements by service users. Some of these involve users as
    providers, partners, educators and evaluators.

What difference do these make to you as a practitioner? Social
care is changing dramatically and our pilot sites’ experiences are
evidence of this. Many of the pilots are trying to redraw
boundaries between professions so that services become more
cohesive. Issues raised by these new roles include:

  • Impacts on career development pathways when roles fall between
    different professions – often pay, service conditions and the
    language and culture of the different professions vary
  • The idea of the “professional allied to the community” as one
    way in which the distinctive strengths of social care approaches
    can be both transformed and retained.
  • Developing systems that really involve service users at all
    levels, including as trainers and evaluators.

Practitioners need to keep up to date with new role thinking
because they reflect service users’ expressed needs, they are roles
that demand skills prized by employers and represent opportunities
to be at practice’s cutting edge.

Vic Citarella, chair, new roles task and finish group,
Topss England.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.